Our history

It was with tremendous sadness that we discovered comrade Pam Woods had died following a courageous battle with leukaemia and MDS. In keeping with her immediate family’s wishes for privacy at such a difficult time, we did not publish an obituary.

It was with a deep sense of sadness and personal loss that Ana and myself learned of the death of our dear old friend and comrade, Bob Lee, last Friday. We had been very close for many years, and we learned to love and respect him as a great comrade, a tireless fighter and above all as a warm, loving and generous human being.

The recent convulsive faction fight and split in the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI), driven by Peter Taaffe, the General Secretary of SPEW, the Socialist Party of England and Wales, is now plastered all over social media for the world to see. Despite the stream of allegations coming from the Taaffe faction, and the rebuttals from the other side, the dispute in reality centres around prestige politics, a highly pernicious tendency that is invariably fatal in a revolutionary organisation.

The crisis unfolding within the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) is reaching a critical phase, and a deep split is now imminent. The Spanish group of the CWI, Izquierda Revolucionaria, which only joined the CWI in 2017, has already split away and what remains of the Mexican and Venezuelan groups have followed suit. The Portuguese group has also left. To help readers understand what is happening, we take this opportunity to publish two opposition documents from 1991 and 1992, when a heated dispute took place within the Militant Tendency

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It is a well-known fact that accident can play a considerable role in both history and the lives of individuals. In the course of my life I have observed many accidents and extraordinary coincidences. But I have never experienced such a unique and unforeseeable concatenation of circumstances as that which I am about to relate here.

Ten years ago today comrade Phil Mitchinson died tragically at the age of 38. He was a leading cadre of the Socialist Appeal in Britain and also of the International Marxist Tendency. He played a key role in building up the forces of the Socialist Appeal. We republish here an article by Rob Sewell written one year after his death,  Phil Mitchinson: “We will finish what he began”. We are also highlighting one of his major articles, Marxism and direct action, which is the best way of honouring the comrade and showing his calibre as a leading Marxist cadre.

News of the death of comrade Jean Lievens came as a most shocking and unwelcome surprise to all of us who knew him. Jean was always so full of life that to speak of his death seems to be unthinkable. But at the tragically early age of 59 he has been suddenly taken from us after a short fight against a serious illness.

Alan Woods recalls the role of Ted Grant, discussions he had with him and also provides excerpts from some of Ted’s speeches in the 1990s, that reveal a sharp mind still following world events and applying the Marxist method to explain them.


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We have just received the sad news of the death of Terry Fields, a Militant supporter and Labour MP for Liverpool Broadgreen (1983 -92). He died over the weekend after a long struggle with cancer. Terry is remembered by all the comrades who knew him as a true class fighter and a man who stuck to his socialist principles throughout.

We are publishing a 1945 article by Ted Grant’s which was a contribution to the discussion on the national question in Europe then taking place within the Fourth International. The IKD was the German section of the Fourth International, but some of its members had unfortunately drawn some very reactionary conclusions. Instead of the perspective of the socialist revolution they had been thrown back to the idea of the “national democratic” revolution. Ted explained the disastrous consequences this idea would have on the movement and went on to state the classical Marxist position on this question.

In 1946 the perspectives of the then leadership of the Fourth International were that through “the combined economic, political and diplomatic pressure and the military threats of American and British imperialism” the Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union could collapse. The complete opposite was the truth. Ted Grant, together with the leadership of the RCP, attempted to correct this mistaken prognosis. Here we provide the historical 1946 documentation.

In 1946 the leaders of the Fourth International were predicting imminent revolutonary upheavals, when in reality capitalism was entering the biggest boom in its history. The leadership of the British Trotskyists, in particular Ted Grant, tried to convince the International that their perspective was false. History has proven Ted to be right. No one can doubt it, and we are proud to continue the tradition that he laid down of serious, meticulous analysis of the real processes taking place in society.


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A comrade who was actively involved in building the Militant in the 1970s and 1980s recounts his experience, how he became disillusioned by the changes in the internal regime, how the tendency he had joined was transformed into something else. He now sees in In Defence of Marxism the genuine traditions of the Militant at its best.

The resolution adopted by the International Pre-Conference of the Fourth International in April 1946, was permeated with the false perspective of the impending revolutionary crisis, the impossibility of a general economic recovery of capitalism and therefore it highlighted the excellent possibilities to develop the forces of the Fourth International. All this of course was false and eventually led to one crisis after another of the organization, and to its final collapse.


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On the 40th anniversary of the publication of the first edition of the Militant (October 1964) Fred Weston interviewed Ted Grant, the key theoretician behind the whole project.

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Forty years ago this month the Militant was launched. Its subsequent evolution has no parallel in the history of left groups in Britain or internationally. From a miniscule group with no resources, it became the most successful Trotskyist tendency in Britain since the founding of Trotsky’s Left Opposition. Unfortunately the majority of its leadership was to take an ultra-left turn that would eventually destroy it. Rob Sewell, who was part of the opposition to that turn, recounts what happened.

The conflict that opened up in the Militant in 1991 eventually led to breaking point. The “Majority”, no longer able to tolerate any form of internal debate, decided to expel the Opposition, starting with Ted Grant, the founder of the Tendency. This act put the final seal on the degeneration of the old Militant. From a healthy, vibrant Marxist Tendency, it had been transformed into a bureaucratic, sectarian and undemocratic outfit. The opposition started to draw a balance sheet of the whole experience and this document is part of that.


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When the Majority of the Militant leadership in 1991 pushed for a break with the Labour Party an intense debate opened up within the ranks of the Tendency (see Forty years ago the Militant was launched – How the Militant was Built – and How it was Destroyed). Here we provide the document presented by the Minority which warned against the consequences of such a turn.

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This is the resolution adopted by the majority of the Militant leadership in 1991 after the Walton by-election. In spite of having received far fewer votes than they had expected (in fact at one stage they even thought they could win), the resolution presents the campaign as a major success. It was supposed to avoid demoralisation of the left. Experience showed that it was the beginning of the decline of the influence of the Militant in Liverpool. (July, 1991)

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After the debacle of the Walton by-election the minority of the Militant leadership attempted to draw a more sober balance sheet of what had been achieved. (July, 1991)

This book by Ted Grant is a unique contribution to the history of British Trotskyism. It begins with the debate on Trotskyism in the British Communist Party in 1924 and ends with the break-up of the Revolutionary Communist Party in 1949 and the beginning of more than thirty years of work within the Labour Party. Ted Grant was the founder and political leader of the “Militant Tendency”, which haunted the Labour leadership, and was eventually expelled along with the Militant editorial board in 1983. A postscript by Rob Sewell, who was the national organiser for the Militant throughout the 1980s, brings this unique history up to date.


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"I would like through the pages of the journal to express my best wishes to all the comrades. The ideas you represent today have a very long history."

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At 10.45am on August 21, Jimmy Deane died of pneumonia after a long illness in a Liverpool nursing home. He was one of the last in the generation of pre-war Trotskyists, who together with Ted Grant, fought to keep alive the flame of genuine Trotskyism under the most difficult circumstances.
Ajit Roy, Speakers' Corner, 1942

Trotsky's struggle with Stalin was a life or death struggle. It was a struggle to defend the clean banner of Lenin against the growing bureaucratic reaction within the Soviet state and party. Rob Sewell examines the origins of Trotskyism in Britain.

Much has changed since this document was first produced, and we have continually refined and updated our perspectives and analysis in subsequent books and articles.  However, the historical value of this document, especially those parts concerning the history of the internationals, the rise of proletarian Bonapartism, and the post-WWII period retain their full force and value.